How to Install Wine (WineHQ) on Debian 11 Bullseye

Wine is a free and open-source compatibility layer that enables Windows applications to run on POSIX-compliant operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS. Wine translates each system call your application makes into an equivalent POSIX function used across all platforms, which can be very helpful if you don’t support specific features available in Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.

One of the great features of Wine is the Wine AppDB. This database contains lists of confirmed applications that can be run under Wine without errors. This program saves the trouble for Linux users who want to use Windows-based programs on their UNIX systems, but not all programs will work in this way; some may have strange bugs or crashes when run with no warnings beforehand. Despite this, many popular programs such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop work well under Wine with few to no issues. Overall, the Wine AppDB is a handy tool for anyone looking to use Windows-based programs on Linux.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install and configure Wine on Debian 11 Bullseye using the command line terminal by importing the official WineHQ repository and installing the latest stable or next release titled development for those eager to try the latest bleeding-edge version of Wine for your windows compatibility needs.

Update Debian

Before you begin, run a quick update to ensure your system is up-to-date to avoid any conflicts during the installation of Wine.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install Required Packages

The following packages must be installed to assist in installing the software.


sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget -y

If unsure, run the command; it will not harm you.

These are the most common software packages found on nearly all Linux distributions.

Enable 32-bit Support

Ideally, you should enable 32-bit architecture support, as many games and especially Windows applications may come in this form. Without it, you may be limited in what you can use with Wine.

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Most users should enable this for lower-end systems that can only play lower-end games that come in 32bit format more often than not, and high-powered systems will not notice any impact having the packages installed.

Import WineHQ GPG Key & Repository

Before installing any versions of Wine from WineHQ, import the GPG key and the WineHQ from the Focal Fossa repository branch using the following steps.

First, import the GPG key required to verify the authenticity of the Wine packages from WineHQ.


sudo wget -O- https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/winehq.gpg

Using the following command, import the WineHQ repository.

echo deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/winehq.gpg] http://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/ bullseye main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq.list

Now, run an APT update to reflect the new packages that have been imported.

sudo apt update

Install Wine – WineHQ Stable Release

The first method is to install the latest Wine version from the stable branch. This is often the best solution as it is more updated than the default repository version while not bleeding-edge, such as the development release from WineHQ.

Run the following command to install the stable Wine release.

Example only for now:

sudo apt install winehq-stable --install-recommends  -y

Once completed, verify the version you have installed by typing the following command:


wine --version

Alternative – Install Wine from the Default Repository

For users who prefer an older version, you can install this alternative version using one of the following commands.

Install Wine with the default repository 64-bit version only.

sudo apt install wine64 -y

For users that have enabled 32-bit Support, install both architectures as follows.

sudo apt install wine64 wine32 -y

Install Wine – WineHQ Staging Release

The second method is to install the latest Wine version from the staging branch. This ideally is the beta version or testing version just before release. I recommend the staging branch for users who prefer a newer version rather than stable without risking the instability risks of bleeding-edge, such as the development version.

Run the following command to install the Wine staging release.

sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-staging -y

Once completed, verify the version you have installed by typing the following command to give you an output.


wine --version

Install Wine – WineHQ Development Release

The third method is to install the latest Wine version from the development branch. This is bleeding-edge software and can sometimes be unstable or cause your system instabilities. This is recommended for more experienced users or developers that want a taste of what is to come.

With stable, run the following command to install the Wine development release.

sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-devel -y

Once completed, verify the version you have installed by typing the following command to give you an output.

wine --version

How to Finalize Wine Installation

Once WineHQ is installed, run the command winecfg” from your terminal, which will install the required environments for Wine to operate.

winecfg

Example output:

How to Install Wine (WineHQ) on Debian 11 Bullseye

Press Install to proceed


How to Configure Wine

Once you have finished the installation, the Wine configuration dialogue will be shown. In this section of the software, you can configure various Wine settings. The default settings should be sufficient in most cases. However, if you change anything, the Windows version will default from Windows 7 to something more recently, such as Windows 10. Still, as of now, Windows 11 is not supported, given it has just been released.

Example:

How to Install Wine (WineHQ) on Debian 11 Bullseye

Once finished, close the dialogue box.

Now, downloading any .exe Windows binary file that suits your configuration, you can run it by right-clicking, selecting “Open With Other Application,” and selecting Wine to run. The example above downloaded Notepad++ and opened the installation .exe using Wine.

Proceed to install, then run your Windows application, the final look of installing Notepad++ on Debian.

Example:


Once you run through the installation exactly like installing the same software on a Windows system, you can launch the software application icon from the show applications menu.

Example:

How to Run Wine From Terminal

While you can right-click applications downloaded and select open with Wine, as most users know, you can use the following command for strictly terminal terms.

wine PROGRAM [ARGUMENTS...]   Run the specified program

Example:

wine <application name>.exe

How to Update/Upgrade Wine

For future updates from WineHQ, this can be done using the APT update and APT upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade && sudo apt update

How to Remove (Uninstall) Wine

Depending on your needs, you may need to remove a particular version of Wine to install another or remove it in full. Use one of the corresponding commands to match your version.


Remove WineHQ Stable Release

sudo apt autoremove winehq-stable -y

Remove WineHQ Staging Release

sudo apt autoremove winehq-staging -y

Remove WineHQ Development Release

sudo apt autoremove winehq-devel -y

For complete removal, delete the repository file.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq*

If you have removed the WineHQ repository, it is recommended to remove the GPG key.

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/winehq*

Remove Wine (Default version)

The users that installed Wine from the default repository use the following command.

sudo apt autoremove wine32 wine64 -y

Comments and Conclusion

Wine can be beneficial in certain situations, but there are some essential things to keep in mind before you make the switch. First and foremost, Wine is not a perfect solution—some applications may not work perfectly or at all when run through Wine. Additionally, Wine requires a bit of setup and maintenance to get it working correctly on your system; if you’re not comfortable with tinkering around in the command line, it might be best to steer clear for now. Finally, always remember that using Wine comes with no guarantees; while most applications should run without any issues, there’s always the potential for something to go wrong.


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2 thoughts on “How to Install Wine (WineHQ) on Debian 11 Bullseye”

  1. Thanks for this, I need Wine to run the best (IMHO) photo program (the ‘deprecated’ Picasa) on my various Linux distros and haven’t been able to get it working since earlier this year. Your tutorial worked well for Deb 11 and LMDE5. I’m a bit hesitant to try but wonder if it will also work with Mint21 and MX21? No joy with PopOS22.04 and Fedora37 currently, but will await.

    Reply
  2. Managed to get the first running on Pop!OS22.4 without any issues but on trying MX21 found that I had to go down to Wine-Staging….but then successfully managed to install Wine-6.22.
    Great work Josh.

    Reply

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